Maryland Convent development causing noise and dust nuisance, say neighbours

PUBLISHED: 10:56 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:19 17 April 2018

The Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Neighbours living near a former care home claim the redevelopment of the site is causing unnecessary disruption to their lives.

The Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

Beechcroft Developments are in the process of demolishing the Maryland Convent on Townsend Drive in St Albans and building 35 retirement homes, some costing as much as £950,000.

But Alan Lawrence, a resident of Townsend Drive for more than 30 years, said the work is pelting their homes with dust, causing unacceptable levels of noise, and contractors often leave them blocked in on their driveways.

“Lorries come off the site and go along unpaved road, which is like a quagmire when it’s wet. They have a road sweeper that spreads muck across the road, and when it dries, a dust cloud follows the lorries around.”

The 73-year-old says he has seen contractors parking on double yellow lines which were put down for safety reasons.

The Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

Just a few weeks ago the road and pavement outside his home was dug up so an adequate power supply can be run to the development, while work is carried out to create an underground car park.

St Albans district council initially refused Beechcroft Developments planning permission, however their application was allowed following an appeal to the planning inspector.

Mr Lawrence, who lives with his wife, said: “I cannot go out of my drive. We knew there would be noise, but we were not expecting the levels we are getting at the moment.

“Developers have made very little effort to engage with us about it. We received notification that this work was taking place, but they do not seem to care what disruption they are causing.”

The Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Maryland Convent development on Townsend Drive, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

Trevor Wicks from Beechcroft Developments said: “I do not consider dust to be much of an issue, but we use water suppression to keep it down.”

Workers on the site can only play radios inside the property, not outside, and the work on the electricity lines is by the utility company and Beechcroft has no power over them, he added.

Mr Wicks had seen an email from Batchwood resident Paul Robertson, who complimented the developer on its traffic management and courtesy.

Mr Robertson had spoken in opposition to Beechcroft’s proposal at a St Albans council planning meeting last year, saying they had ‘declined to consult with residents’, referring to a previous application by the developers after they bought the site in 2015.

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